Guest post by Ali
Eclectic would be the best way to describe the musical style of the sibling duo known as CocoRosie. The musically-adventurous sisters use unlikely vocal and instrumental combinations to create a truly unique experience. Bianca “Coco” and Sierra “Rosie” Casady, who formed the group in 2003, each add different elements to their distinct sound, completely complementing one another.
The show took place at The Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz – a retro-style theatre which has been around since the ‘40s. Initially, I was a bit overwhelmed by the onstage theatrics. The vagabond sisters dressed in cloak dresses complete with face paint. Accompanying the duo were Tex and The Rajasthan Roots, comprised of a pianist in a genie-like costume, a child cellist, and a beat boxer wearing a scarecrow mask resembling that of a character from a horror film. The bizarre collection of characters performed in front a screen showing slow-motion images of people in animal-like tribal masks.
In addition to the said performance, the crowd added to the strange happenings in The Rio Theatre on Thursday. Fans dressed in costume complete with face-painted mustaches, pregnant chicks donned crop-tops featuring their fertility, and even a few traditional Santa Cruz hippies wandered into the show. Whodini was right; the freaks really do come out at night – especially in Santa Cruz.
Getting over the initial surprise of what was happening on and off stage, I was blown away with how multi-talented the sisters really are. Instrumentally, the show rocked my world. The pair played everything from the harp, piano, cello, clarinet, to Chinese flutes. Tex and The Rajasthan Roots combined unlikely sounds, creating an eclectic percussion ambiance. Sierra’s impressive opera-style vocals and amazing harp skills really balance out her sister, Bianca, who sounds like Bjork and Billie Holiday’s love child. The sisterly bond they share is really undeniable and together, the two create an avant-garde, folk-tronic sound.
Some highlights of the show include when CocoRosie played classics like “Lemonade” and “Japan” while the whole crowd snapped along to the beat. The masked beat boxer was unveiled for an awesome solo, and seeing “K-hole” live put a whole new spin on my opinion of the harp. The sisters totally rocked their newer tracks “Tearz for Animals” and “We are on Fire,” which were the crowd favorites.
Aspects of the show were definitely strange (almost flirting with the line of creepy), but the Casady sisters are talented enough to make it work. I really came full circle with my opinion of the show – from not knowing what kind of freak show I signed up for, to feeling a bit weird for enjoying it, to finally rocking out and wishing I got the memo to grow out dreads and not wear deodorant. In short, CocoRosie creates an energy on which individuals can thrive – it’s adventurous and I thoroughly enjoyed it.